Pearl Harbor, Polynesian villages, cannonading surf (contd.)
Speed, it developed, can mean as much as a miles an hour, an impressive thought to the layman. "It's no problem as long as you're up," George assured me, "but when you have a spill, or a 1wipe-out,1 you have to dig in fast," I asked him to explain. "You have to to dig into the wave itself," George said. "With a 30-footer, you can't afford to let it crack right on you, it would be like standing inside a three-story house when it collapses. In a wipe-out at 40 miles an hour you tend to skid down the slope of the wave, and if you keep on skidding you'll be right underneath when that part of it cracks. So the minute you hit the water you reach back with one arm and literally claw your way into the wave to slow down. Then you burrow in fast and try to get to the other side."
Another, though actually very minor, problem to surfing in Hawaii's waters is the presence now and then of sharks. The dangers are more psychological than real, for in the last decade only one fatality due to sharks has been reported among surfers. George told me he had encountered sharks a number of times in his career. "But as a rule," he said, "they clear out when they see you. If they don't, it's well to look for another beach. Once or twice I've surfed into a school of them by accident." Horrified, I asked what he had done. "Just said, 'Excuse me,' and surfed right on through," he answered grinning. "But I'll say this: It was no time for a wipe-out" Not long afterward I thought enviously of George and his quick departure from mano, as Hawaiians call the shark. Not that I was in any real danger, according to Ken Taylor, and Ken has been dealing with mano for years. He had invited me to go scuba diving off Makaha in early autumn before the surf had begun to build. Ken's 17-year-old daughter Theresa, his frequent partner, decided to accompany us.
In addition to being an expert commercial diver, Ken runs a thriving business in Honolulu called Coral Fish Hawaii, which supplies exotic reef specimens by air to mainland collectors. Ken had a number of orders to fill, and we set off one early morning in an outboard from the town of Waianae on Oahu's west side, turning north along the coast toward Kaena Point. Once again I was impressed by the clarity of Hawaii's coastal waters, occasionally Ken stopped to survey the bottom, and I found I could make out the shapes of coral reefs and even some of the brighter colours of marine life 40 feet below us. finally Ken anchored in 30 feet of water above a reef half a mile off Makaha, and he and Theresa and I went over the side with scuba gear and the collecting equipment. Ken's method of trapping specimens was simple but highly effective. At the base of the ref he uncoiled a net woven of transparent nylon filament, 60 feet long and 10 feet wide. One long edge of the net was weighted down by lead sinkers, and the opposite edge was buoyed with small plastic floats. When stretched out, the entire affair formed an almost invisible fence across the ocean floor.
Ken arranged the net at a right angle against the reef and signalled Theresa and me to follow him along the massive hedgerow of coral, in somber limbs festooned with bright garlands of browsing fish that drifted slowly back and forth with the metronome surge of the sea. some 30 yards from the net Ken divided up the rest of the gear; a pair of small hand nets each for himself and Theresa, a plastic collecting box with a spring-secured lid for me. And then the drive began. Swimming a yard or two apart and hugging the wall of the reef, we slowly herded clusters of glittering fish before us, as though sweeping a jumble of stained-glass fragments across the sea floor. In the swirling mass ahead I picked out dazzling combinations - magenta with gold, turquoise mixed with silver, indigo and orange, black and scarlet. As we approached the net, Ken motioned me to swing wide toward the outer edge, while he and Theresa coaxed the main body of fish head-on into the webbing. Silent pandemonium followed as the cornered fish lunged frantically and repeatedly against the barrier. Ken and Theresa selected the valuable ones, gently scooping them up with the hand nets and expertly transferring them to my collecting box. We carefully freed other fish still caught in the net, then headed back for another drive.
There passes netted some two dozen specimens of the types Ken was after; we coiled up the net and made for the surface. Back aboard the boat Ken transferred the catch to a 25-gallon drum at the stern and identified a few varieties for me by their popular names - yellow tangs, spotted puffers, Moorish idols, damsels, and longnose butterflyfish. "These are good reefs," Ken said after we had weighed anchor and headed southwestward toward another likely spot. "They'll stay that way, too, as long as we don't overfish them and nobody gives them a shot of bleach." I didn't follow him and Ken explained an illegal method of fishing that amounts to wholesale slaughter. "It's a technique used for food fish," Ken said, "and it has the advantage of being dirt cheap. All it takes is a 60-cent plastic bottle of bleach, and no regard for life. You simply dive with the bottle on a reef where fish are concentrated and swim along, squeezing the bottle as you go. Within 20 minutes or so every living thing in the area is paralysed and dying. So you pick what y9ou want and leave the other 99 percent behind - starfish, sea snails, shrimp, the colorful little fish nobody eats, even the reef itself, which will probably die, too, or be a wasteland for a long time.
"The food fish don't seem to be spoiled for human consumption," he added. "They're just as tasty as if they were caught with a net or a hook and line. but everything else dies along with them." "Don't misunderstand," Theresa added quietly. "Ninety-nine out of a hundred fishermen in our islands are decent people, and they know that without the reef they're minus a job - just as collectors and surfers are hurt when coral's wiped out. The problem is to educate that one man in a hundred. Or if you can't educate him, to keep him ashore." For the next dive Ken chose a reef 50 feet down and a mile off the southern end of Makaha. We set the net as before and made the first run, catching a few worthwhile specimens plus a number of curious small fish that made a clearly audible "beep-beep" sound when they became tangled in the webbing. Automatically I began to free them, and Theresa's hand suddenly was on mine. At first I thought the strange fish must be valuable and that I was meant to collect them, but Theresa gave no sign and only stared evenly at me through her face plate. I turned to look for Ken and then realised why she had caught my hand. With his only weapons, the hand nets, Ken was driving at an eight-foot shark less than 20 feet away. For a long second the shark stood its ground, then swung away into the lengthening shadows of the open sea. Only then did Theresa release my hand and motion upward with her thumb, the signal to surface. Ken swept up the net and followed us to the boat.
I learned then what had happened. The curious small fish entangled in the net were weke, or goatfish, whose distress calls carry a great distance underwater. Alerted to a possible meal, the shark had homed on the sound, gliding in from the sea like a gray wraith toward our net. for nearly a minute he had coasted along within 10 feet of me, awaiting a chance at the helpless fish. And, novice that I was, I hadn't noticed him. Presently Ken and Theresa had seen the danger. Unsure of how I might react when I saw it, too, Theresa had seized my hand while Ken went for the shark. "Probably he was more curious than hungry." Ken said in a matter-of-fact way, "but you can never be 100 percent sure. And we didn't know how you'd take to your first shark at close range." My guess is, roughly the same way I would take to my second one. But I'm in no great hurry to find out.
Driving back toward Honolulu, we passed a gigantic notch in the Waianae Range known as Kolekole ass. Here, according to Hawaiian legend, a goddess stands guard against intruders. Most Oahuans agree that she must have been asleep in the early hours of December 7, 1941. For it was through Kolekole Pass that the main assault wave of Japanese carrier planes swept in a surprise attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Har5bor, touching off a war that was to last four terrible years and span the world's largest ocean as though in mockery of its name - Pacific. Nearly three decades (1970) after the Japanese attack, Pearl Harbor still ranks second only to Waikiki Beach as Oahu's top tourist attraction. What the visitor sees today is a vast base no longer on the outer rim of American defenses in the Pacific but nonetheless a vital link with them all. "Without Hawaii we'd be crippled throughout Asia," Admiral John S. McCain, Jr., U.S. Commander in Chief Pacific, told me one day in his office overlooking Pearl Harbor. "Some people insist that nuclear missiles and long-range submarines have made forward bases like Hawaii obsolete - until they start remembering names like Korea and Viet Nam, where the man with the rifle still decides the final outcome."
he waved through the window at the crowded decks and repair yards of Pearl Harbor and beyond, to the equally bushy flight lines of Hickam Air Force Base. "These islands are more than a threshold on the Pacific; they're the gate, the lock, the key, all is one." Certainly the Japanese took the same view on that long-ago Sunday morning in December of 1941, for they set out to smash the gate beyond repair. In the space of two hours they all but destroyed it, launching carrier-based strikes not only against Pearl Harbor, but also against Hickam Air Force base (then known as Hickam Field), the Army's Schofield Barracks, Wheeler Filed, the U.S. Marine Corps' air station at Kaneohe Bay (then a naval air station), and the smaller fields at Ewa and Bellows. In the end the gaze held, but a fearful cost to the United States right battleships damaged or destroyed, with the loss of 10 other combat and support vessels, 2,403 American lives extinguished, 188 aircraft in ruins, and American power in the Pacific crippled, if not shattered, for months to come. Only the Navy's submarine fleet and three aircraft carriers, the latter then at sea on maneuvers, escaped to strike a later counterblow.
The cruelest loss of all lies unrecovered on the floor of Pearl Harbor. A graceful marble memorial crowns the sunken superstructure of the battleship U.S.S. Arizona, demolished by a chain of explosions that reached her magazines. In a unique gesture the Navy decided to leave the bodies of more than 1,400 of her crew entombed forever where they had died gallantly, and almost instantly, with their ship. Amid overwhelming tragedy there were moments of redeeming honor. One Navy survivor of the attack, James J. Downs, today is an automobile salesman in Honolulu. In 1941 "J.J.," as friends call him, was a 19-year-old seaman aboard the destroyer U.S.S. Blue, one of the few ships out of 96 in Pearl Harbor that managed to get under way and into action during the raid. With less than a third of her normal 146-man crew aboard, the Blue shot down five attacking planes and probably sank a Japanese midget submarine, one of five launched by mother subs off the coast of Oahu. The Blue's exploits earned her a unit citation, one of the earliest awarded in World War II.
For J.J. Downs the Japanese attack had unique personal significance, a significance he explained to me one day at the Navy Chief Petty Officers' Club in Pearl Harbor. "The night before the attack," J.J. said, "that is, Saturday, December 6, I had a date with a Japanese girl in Honolulu. but that afternoon ashore I met a dazzling Hawaiian-Dutch girl, and the hours just seemed to slip by. "Well, I'll be honest with you," he said. "I did a terrible thing. I stood the Japanese girl up and took the Hawaiian-Dutch girl out instead. Then the very next morning there I am, back aboard the Blue, and here comes half the Imperial Japanese Navy Air force, fighting mad. And I said to myself, 'J.J., let this be a lesson to you.'"
In another way it was also a lesson to the attackers. At the moment of victory the leader of the Japanese air armada, Comdr. Mitsuo Fuchida, made a disturbing observation. Despite the completeness of the surprise, American gun crews on the warships in Pearl Harbour recovered from the shock with astonishing speed and got their antiaircraft batteries into swift and deadly operation. The American reaction would become a familiar one to the Japanese before war's end. To the great satisfaction of Hawaiians the only midget submarines that patrol their waters today are devoted to advancing man's peaceful knowledge of the deep. One such craft, a bubble-like research submarine capable of carrying two men down to 300 feet, operates out of Oahu's internationally known Makapuu Oceanic Center, just east of Diamond Head.
The center is a pioneer force in Hawaii's growing specialty, oceanography and related marine sciences. Much of what it learns, as well as captures, from the deep benefits Oahuans and tourists alike at the center's oceanarium, Sea Life Park. Among the center's other attractions are a revolutionary underwater habitat called Aegir (after a Scandinavian sea god), a rapidly developing deep-sea test and research range, and an extremely likeable genius by the name of Dr. Kenneth Norris. Ken Norris is director of the center's research organization, known as the Oceanic Institute, and an authority on the sperm whale. Friends had told me of his plan to capture a young whale alive, and I called at the institute to learn more about the project. Ken sat me down in an empty classroom in front of a blackboard and proceeded to describe some of the wonders of what clearly is his passion in life.
"Here," he began, sketching the rough outline of a sperm whale on the board, "is a beast designed from the keel up by a committee. Not just an ordinary committee, mind you, but an interdepartmental committee. you wouldn't believe the complicated plumbing in it." I might believe it if I could really understand it, but that's not important; what matters are the results of the plumbing. I learned, for example, that sperm whales have been recorded at depths as great as 3,600 feet, where pressure is more than 100 times that at sea level. "Yet the sperm whale goes merrily along," Ken said, "sounding and surfacing, often at considerable speed, in a way not even a modern submarine could match. How does he do it? We have some theories, but we won't know for certain until we can examine one alive and in working order. But what's even more interesting about the sperm whale is in tracking sonar - you've never heard anything like it."
After hearing Ken's description of the sound, I hope I never do, at least not at close range. 'One hydrophone test," he said, "has indicated that the power of the signal is roughly equal to what you would encounter standing 20 feet directly behind a jet engine going at full blast!" According to Ken, the sperm whale most likely makes the sound by clapping a pair of horny lips together, building the impulses up by rockering them back and forth in a sort of echo chamber within its forehead, and finally emitting them in tiny, intensive bursts. I asked what the whale does with the signal, and Ken shook his head. "I can only give you a guess," he said. "I think he hunts with it, tracking one of his favorite foods, the giant squid. We suspect that the signal travels as far as 10 miles underwater, and that each sperm whale has his or her own 'signature' - that is, some small characteristic of the sound that distinguishes it from all other signals being broadcast. So if 'George' and 'Margaret' whale, let's say, are out hunting, 'George' pays attention only to his personal signal when it echoes back from a squid - and presumably he knows the squid's whereabouts and range by the direction and strength of the echo."
Only one thing troubled me. "How does he know it's a squid and not another sperm whale, or a shark?" I asked. "If I knew all the answers," Ken said, grinning, "I wouldn't have to catch a live whale. Maybe when I do you can help me interview it." We shook hands and I asked when he planned to start hunting, for I was on my way the next day to begin visiting Hawaii's other islands. "We plan to do more research before we start," Ken answered. "But who knows? Maybe one day when you come back to Makapuu I'll introduce you to George or Margaret."
Busy farms, a port with a past, a village near heaven
To begin with, they are a little like Maui himself - clever, energetic, and quick to laugh. But Maui was a spirit, a heartless one at that, and they are as warm as any people can be. Their home is actually two islands in one, a pair of volcanic Siamese twins somewhat uneven in size. The enormous peaks are fused together by a low-lying isthmus that gives Maui its nickname, the "Valley Island." Like most twins the two regions are entirely different in character: West Maui, the extrovert and bustling tourist center, East Maui, the serene child of nature. Like many twins, too, they are good-natured rivals - among the people of East Maui the rest of the island is known somewhat loftily as the "Other Side."
One can excuse the loftiness on poetic grounds, for Maui's easternmost community, the quiet village of Hana, is said to be only a step or two from heaven. When it rains in Hana, goes an old Hawaiian song, it rains Lani, ha'a, ha'a - "heaven, step, step" - almost no distance at all. Hana's space-minded children have seized on the legend to suggest that the United States transfer its Apollo launching facility from Cape Kennedy to their school playground, since it is practically next door to the moon! It is a generous offer, but I'm personally against it. For one thing it might mean the end of Ho'olaule'a o Hana as I remember it, and there aren't many such things left in Hawaii. Ho'olaule'a o Hana, or "Festival of Hana," is a week-long celebration hld every autumn by the village's 300 residents. Unlike the corresponding "Aloha Week" in many a larger city, Hana's festival has none of the overtones of a commercial tourist attraction, it is strictly a hometown affair. Fortunately, however, visitors are more than welcome, and Joe Daniels invited me to join in.
Joe is part Hawaiian, part Danish, and part Chinese and he works as a supervisor for Hana Ranch, the largest employer in East Maui. The company also owns the superb Hotel Hana Ranch, and Joe helps out there as a director of guest activities. In addition he is personal adviser and friend seemingly to the entire younger generation of Hana, a role that keeps him hopping during festival week. I arrived in town on Saturday afternoon, just in time for the riding exhibitions. A good many of Hana's men are panilos - cowboys. The Hawaiian term is a corruption of espagnoles and dates back to the days when most ranch hands in the islands were Mexican immigrants, and thus considered Spanish. The riding exhibition was strictly for youngsters, who proved hardly less skilful than their fathers. I had expected something on the order of a rodeo, but Joe explained that this was a more formal occasion. "We have plenty of rodeos," he said, "and they're pretty lively affairs, but once a year Hana likes to put on its finery and ride as if it had never heard of a range cow."
The finery was impressive, with horsemanship to match. As we took our places around the school playground some 30 or 40 students, boys and girls from the junior and senior high schools, appeared on horseback, paired off and dressed in dazzling silk costumes. Each couple wore the symbolic color of one of Hawaii's eight major islands - pink for Maui, orange-yellow for Oahu, red for the Big Island, and so on. In addition, each girl wore a crown woven of her island's official flower, such as Maui's lake-lani, or "heavenly rose." In well-coordinated lines the riders traced patterns across the field, first at a trot and then at a canter. I was amazed that children brought up on cow ponies could display such classic riding-school form. For a finale they passed in review by couples before the judges, again at a trot, at a canter, and then at a gallop. With fine impartiality the judges awarded first prize to a couple in the misty gray color of Niihau island, bestowing second and third honors on couples representing Oahu and Maui respectively. Other prizes were awarded for parade floats built the previous week by various school grades, and then everybody went home to rest up for Sunday afternoon.
If the horse show seemed sedate, Hana more than made up for it next day in the athletic games and competitions. The principle was the same as that of the old-fashioned New England town fair, but the events were strictly out of Hana's Polynesian way of life. There were contests in coconut husking, casting the 'upena kiloi, or throwing net; racing in giant wooden clogs fitted with footholds for teams of six contestants to a pair; bowling, or 'ulu maika, using the traditional Hawaiian stones shaped like hockey pucks, and finally that universal test of strength combined with sheer bulk, the tug-of-war. It was here that the Hawaiian physique came into its own, for ilsanders with relatively pure Polynesian blood frequently run to giant dimensions. The tug-of-war rules limited each women's team to a total of 1,000 pounds, a restriction explained to me with many a giggle by one small girl: "It means no more than three ladies on a side."
Actually the number was six, but Hana's women nonetheless demonstrated considerable brawn. In the men's event the number of contestants was the same, but the weight went up 600 pounds, with a result suggestive of bulldozers straining in opposite directions. As it was, I suspect that whoever provided the manila rope for the competition got it back a fathom or two longer. The day ended long after sunset with a concert by Hana's amateur choral group under the direction of a lady of genius, Mrs. Holu's, translated by another great Hawaiian authority, Mary Kawena Pukui. The song tells of Hana, the coastal wind, and a kind of pungent seaweed known as lipoa:
One can scarcely visit Hana without wondering how long its gentle small-town atmosphere can survive in the turmoil of fast-changing and developing Hawaii. Certainly it is worth trying to preserve. One morning I rode in a truck with Edmund Kalalau, a top paniolo on the ranch, as he transferred half a dozen Herefords from one lush seaside pasture to another. The route led us twice through town and Edmund rarely got both hands on the wheel, so many people wav ed to him as we passed. I mentioned my impression of a large family rather than a small town, and Edmund nodded shyly. "It is one thing to drive through a place where you know everybody," he said. "It is another thing to like nearly all of them."
In one degree or another the same might be said of the entire coastal region of East Maui. Dominated by the giant mass of Haleakala volcano, the land becomes one great sloping shield of high mountain forest, gradually blending with the lighter shades of lowland fields swept now and then by gentle mist from the sea. In the folds and crevices of the shoreline small fishing villages nestle like fragments of bl4ached coral cast up and wedged among the dark shapes of boulders. It is a beautiful and solitary land, one that draws its people together over long distances and across the years. Despite their isolation the villages have ties that run deep and often unseen. Josephine Medeitros gave me an example one day. Josephine is the charming wife of Hana's chief of police. she was born and reared in the village of Keanae on East Maui's remote northern coast. As a girl Josephine was as gay and sociable as she is now, and she had many friends in the other villages. Now and then one of the friendships developed into a romantic attachment. Josephine recalls one boy with particular fondness.
"He lived several villages away," she told me, "but we managed to see a good bit of each other at community dances and at beach picnics here and there. People began taking us seriously and I guess the word got around, because my mother finally asked about him. We were in the kitchen one night and she said casually, 'What's this I hear about you and Harry So-and-so up in Kailua?'" 'Well, that started me off," Josephine said, smiling at the recollection. "I was about 17 at the time and I had some pretty romantic notions. I answered that we were deeply in love, that Harry was the most wonderful men in the whole world, it was the real thing and I couldn't live without him. Mother was very nice about it. 'She heard me out and then said quietly, 'Listen, dear, find somebody else; he's your second cousin.'"
Few outsiders with standard visions of progress can regard East Maui as anything but backward. Its miles of incomparable coastline and its great inland areas lie virtually unplanned and undeveloped, all but barren of major industry and construction. One of the reasons is Haleakala National Park, with its thousands of acres of protected reserve. Another reason is a 38-year-old former Marine helicopter pilot named Taylor A. Pryor, generally known as "Tap," whose Makai Corporation owns or controls 37,000 more acres in East Maui, including Hana Ranch and ranch of the town itself. 'by some people's standards Tap Pryor himself is a little backward. So are his friends and fellow conservationists, men like Charles Lindbergh and Laurance Rockefeller, not to mention the people of Hana. All share a belief that Hawaii's natural assets are to be measured not in dollars and cents alone, but by what is left intact for future generations - a view regarded as obsolete by some developers.
"Actually, it's the standard approach to development that's obsolete," Tap told me in discussing Hana's future. "With the human explosion, we're past the time when we can allow technology to compare with environment - if there ever was such a time. The great loser in that competition can only be man. Instead, environment must become as integral part of technology, meaning not only the developers have to learn conservation but also that conservationists must become developers. It's the one moral as well as practical approach to the problem. "Hawaii had that approach up until world War II," Tap continued. "Then it became a matter of duty and pride to expand as fast as we could, and we did it far too well. We were a provincial society, you see, and we didn't have the built-in restraints to handle growth on that scale. I believe we're finally getting those restraints, but it's a race with things like the new jumbo jets that threaten to make Hawaii just another suburb of Los Angeles." I asked how he envisioned Hana in the future.
"Essentially as what it is now, a working community," he answered and then suddenly grinned. "Hawaiians do work, you know. Our leisurely vacationland image persists, and the idea of actually working in Hawaii is an international joke - I call it 'the Diamond Head syndrome.' But as far back as people here can remember, Hana has been a productive region. Not so long ago there were nine operating sugar mills in East Maui. Today the sugar industry is concentrated on the Other Side, but here we have ranching, a great commercial fishing potential, ideal conditions for agricultural and marine research institutions, and certainly all the ingredients for a major center of creative arts. And of course we have tourism, though not on such a massive scale that it dominates everything else. I don't think Hana would stand for that." Against the day, however, when more outsiders discover the island, Hana is working hard to preserve the very best of its quiet beauty. 'with the help of Tap Pryor, his father Samuel Pryor, Lindbergh, Rockefeller and other conservationists, a group in East Maui has carried out a successful effort to enlarge Haleakala National Park to include such natural treasures as the Seven Sacred Pools, a stepping-stone series of volcanic basins on the island's coast forever scoured and replenished by a mountain stream. I passed the area early one morning with Joe Daniels and two of his friends on our way to hunt pua'a, the Hawaiian pig.
Pu'a is both a blessing and a scourge to the islanders. On the one hand it provides endless main courses for luaus - the traditional Hawaiian feasts, more accurately known as pa'ina or ah'aina. On the other, it ravages mountain vegetation to the point of causing serious erosion. While Hawaiians raise domestic pigs, they consider it a duty and a pleasure to track down the wild variety on foot in its mountain refuge. After one experience I'm inclined to think of it as mostly duty. We left Hana at 4.30 am, in a pickup truck with the back full of boar hounds, and drove westward along the coast so as to reach the area known as Kaupo by sunrise. Mist draped the fields on either side with gauze, streaking the dark silhouettes of trees and softening the rough edges of the seaward cliffs. In the eerie half-light owls now and then ghosted from fence posts and drifted soundlessly away. Behind us the sky turned from indigo to violet, with a thin seam of light where it joined the sea. Then the seam split along the horizon and night unravelled into the fiery brocade of a Pacific sunrise. We parked the truck on Haleakala's lower slopes and started upward through heavily shadowed forest. Besides Joe and me there were Matthew Kalalau, the head groundskeeper at the hotel in Hana, and Terry Lind, a high-school junior and an expert hunter as well as owner of the hounds. It was Terry who carried the only gun, an ancient but well cared for angle-shot .22-caliber rifle.
The moment we let the dogs down from the truck they vanished without a sound in the forests above us. As we hiked after them Joe explained that good boar hounds hunt in silence and that only when they have cornered pua'a does the commotion begin. "Then you run," Jose said, "and you keep running till you get there, because you don't know whether it's a sow or a boar. If it's a sow there's not so much risk to the hounds, but a boar can lay one open with a single sweep of his tusks, and the rest will keep crowding in just the same. Look there, and you'll get an idea of what those tusks can do." He pointed to the base of a tree where a wide patch of bark had been worn away, revealing a smooth under layer with great creases nearly an inch deep. "Pua'a scratches his hide against the bark," Jose said, "and when the bark comes loose he hones his tusks on the wood. Actually, the old boars are less dangerous to hounds than the young ones, because the tusks tend to curl back with age. It's the straight short tusks that are murder. The old boars, however, have fantastically touch hides. I've seen a .22 bullet bounce off a shoulder at fairly close range."
For half an hour more we trekked up the mountain in a stillness broken only now and then by the mournful trill of a Hawaiian dove. Often a heavy carpet of small guavas, called waiawi, made the footing as treacherous as a mud slide. I noticed patches of forest floor that had been churned and gouged as though by a giant disk harrow, indicating spots where pua'a had located choice beds of roots. It was beyond one of these that Terry paused a moment to listen and then suddenly broke into a run. The next four or five minutes are among the worst I can ever recall, for the hounds had cornered a pua'a half a mile away up a winding stream bed littered with loose stones and bordered by thick underbrush. With lungs bursting and legs on the point of collapse, I managed to reach the scene just as Terry got into position to fire. The pig, a 150-pound sow, had backed into a culvert off the stream, holding the hounds at bay in the narrow defile. Abandoning the idea of a shot over the dogs' heads as too risky, Terry climbed onto a fallen tree directly above the sow and, reaching the rifle down as far as possible, put an end to the battle. Then he ordered the hounds away, and we all dropped to the ground to rest.
The sow proved similar to her domestic relatives except for a longer and coarser coat of brownish-gray hair. Lacking tusks, she had a set of very effective looking weapons in the sharp cloven hoofs on her forefeet. 'After Terry had driven the dogs away from the prize several times, they finally wandered of into the brush. Ten minutes later, when we had caught our breath, I helped hold the carcass while Matthew Kalalau began to clean and dress it. It was then that we heard the dogs again, this time from a great distance. My memory is mercifully vague on that second steeplechase, gut it involved several high ridges overgrown with thick brush and paved with innumerable ripe guavas. The hounds had cornered a young 250-pound boar, and only Terry's speed and quick aim saved them from injury. It was a long time before any of us got his wind back. 'when it came at last to packing the dressed-out carcasses down the mountainside I refused to be excused as a guest. My share of the job amounted to a stretch of about a mile with a hundred pounds of rather gamy sow slung over my back. I finally made it, half walking and half skidding on fallout from the guava trees. It was a week or two before I could look at pork again - or at guava jelly, for that matter.
The carcasses were set aside for a birthday party in honor of Joe's aunt the following week, but I was due nest day in West Maui and missed the celebration. Joe has promised me a luau if I come back to Hana, and I intend to take him up on it. but somebody else has got to catch the pig. The first day after leaving Hana I found myself back on Haleakala, but under somewhat less strenuous circumstances. checking into a hotel at the town of Lahaina on Maui's western tip, I began a week's stay by driving east across the isthmus to the volcano's summit and paying a brief visit to "Science City." Actually the "city" is only a thin scattering of buildings perched on the crater rim, but there is no question about its scientific character. Its tenants include such organizations as the Atomic Energy Commission, the University of Hawaii, the Smithsonian Institution and a civilian unit of the Department of Defense called the Advanced Research Projects Agency Maui Optical Station, happily abbreviated to AMOS.
In one way or another, all take advantage of Haleakala's 10,023-foot height and exceptionally clear atmosphere to study earth's upper regions and the needless sweep of space beyond AMOS also studies the strange objects man puts there. Just whose objects they are I never learned, for Glen Rogers wouldn't discuss a Judging by what he was able to show me, they include both satellites and burned-out rockets, probably not all of them ours. Glen is an optical engineer with Lockheed Missiles & Space Company, which operates AMOS under government contract with technical direction from another company, AVCO Everett Research Laboratory. He welcomed me to the station and explained that most of it was out of bounds but that he could show me once telescope I might find interesting. It was quite an understatement, for Glen's telescope does thins no ordinary mechanism could begin to match. As a rule, astronomical telescopes are geared to the earth's rotation, enabling them to lock onto a celestial target and to sweep mechanically from horizon to horizon in about 12 hours' time. AMOS's telescope does essentially the same thing, but its targets cross the sky in a matter of seconds. It can track a jet aircraft flying at high speed only a mile away. Such jobs call for tremendous power as well as precision, for the telescope and its synchronized dome together weigh a quarter of a million pounds.
For a demonstration Glen led me down a corridor and up two flights of stairs to the observation platform beneath a huge metal dome. In the center stood the telescope, an immense instrument with a 60-inch mirror, but seemingly no different from half a dozen I had seen. "It's not much different," Glen said, "until it starts moving. It weighs about 15 tons, but it's beautifully balanced and suspended. Give it a swing yourself and you'll see." I placed my hands against the base and shoved in a clockwise direction. Nothing happened at first, but as I gradually overcame inertia, the telescope began to swing smoothly around on its pedestal. "Try and stop it" Glen said. One might as well have tried to slow the earth's rotation, the momentum was so great. I quickly gave up. "Now stand over here with me and let's see what the machinery can do," Glen suggested, moving to a large console against one wall. Adjusting half a dozen dials and tripping several twitches, he pressed a final button and turned back to the telescope. The world around us erupted into violent motion as a viewing panel in the dome overhead yawned open and the telescope began to swing about like the arm of a huge crane moving at top speed. The noise of the dome was incredible, for with each swing of the telescope barrel the entire structure rotated on its giant bearings to keep the viewing window always in the direct line of aim. The effect of such mass and force together was overwhelming. When at last Glen switched off the power, I felt as if I had survived a terrible earthquake.
Later over coffee Glen told me a little more about the telescope. The human eye, of course, could remain trained to the viewpiece during an operation such as I had witnessed. As in much of astronomy today, highly sensitive instruments take over the job, storing the data in the form of permanent records for scientists to study. It is here that the AMOS telescope borders on a science fiction, for it can virtually detect a fly in the sky. At the base of the instrument, Glen explained, lies something called a sensor, an extremely delicate instrument for measuring infinitesimal amounts of light energy. Since satellites and other orbiting objects are often visible to the unaided eye, I asked way AMOS needed such sensitive measurements. "have another cup of coffee," Glen said smiling.
As befits an island named after a demigod who stole fire from the gods, Maui is almost constantly in flames. The pyrotechnics have nothing to do with volcanoes but with another symbol of Hawaii, known as the ancient inhabitants as ko and to their English-speaking successors as sugarcane. Firing the cane fields is a preliminary step to harvesting almost a year-round process in the 50th State. Unlike other Hawaiian symbols such as the pineapple, the ukulele, and the guitar - all three of which are non-Polynesian imports less than 160 years old in the islands - ko arrived with the early settlers centuries ago. The first Hawaiians planted the giant species of grass as bordering hedges around their homes and lands. Now and then they broke off a stalk to chew for its sweet juice. Astonishingly, it was to be more than a thousand years before the islanders began crushing cane in sizable amounts and boiling the juice down for crystallized sugar. The first real mill is Hawaii was established on Kauai in 1836; today Hawaii leads the islands in production, with Maui second and Kauai third. A major reason for Maui's position is the Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar company, better known as SHAS, whose headquarters are located at Puunene, in the valley that divides Maui's two great volcanic masses. With Kenneth Willey, the company's field director, I spent a morning inspecting the vast growing harvesting, and processing operations of HC&S.
From Ken I learned that despite the relatively small area devoted to sugarcane - 242,476 acres - the 50th State produced more than 3 percent of the world's raw cane sugar in 1968, or 1,232,182 tons. HC&S, the giant in the islands, accounts for nearly a sixth of Hawaii's total. Skill combined with climate has given Hawaiian growers the highest average annual yield in the world, as much as 11.12 tons of raw sugar per acre. Our tour began with fields and seed cane, separately tended stalks that are grown for nine months, then cut into 18-inch lengths and planted to produce the actual harvest, known as crop cane. We traced the latter through fields of varying ages to maturity, where within two years the cane stands 12 to 15 feet high and is ready for harvesting. Afterward it may be allowed to grow again to produce a second or even a third harvest, each known as a "ratoon crop," after the ratoon, or sprout, remaining underground. With delightful humor Hawaiian parents often refer affectionately to children born to them late in life as their ratoon crop.
As every stage, sugarcane requires enormous quantities of water, far more than West Maui's annual 20 inches of rainfall can supply. "it takes half a million gallons of water to produce a single ton of raw sugar," ken said, "and we don't get anything like that. We draw it instead from the mountains and, to a small degree, from wells. With 20,505 acres under cultivation we use 180 billion gallons of water a year for irrigation - almost six times as much as Honolulu uses." We watched several fields being burned off prior to harvest, each one protected from adjoining rows by gangs of workers patrolling the wide utility roads that double as firebreaks. Ken explained that far from damaging the stalks, flash-fire merely removes excess weight in the form of cane trash and leaves. For those who envision the picturesque sugarcane harvester of old, wading through a field with his flashing machete, today's methods of gathering the crop are sadly lacking in romance. The bulldozer and the crane have replace the man with the knife; and more than anything else a harvesting team resembles a road-construction crew. ken and I watched as massive D-8 Caterpillar tractors chewed their way through acres of cane, sheering the stalks off at ground level with devices like huge dinner forks attached to their front ends. Other cranes delivered the harvest in great bundles so the cane haulers, diesel-powered and rubber-tired monsters the size of small ranch houses, each capable of carrying a 66-ton load to the mill.
The mill at Puunene is a giant version of a modernized kitchen, with grinders and blenders, rinsing tanks and pressure cookers, and one device reminiscent of the laundry - a great spin-drier designed to separate molasses from sugar crystals in the same way water is removed from a load of wash. But for the most startling aspect of a modern mill is that in order to make sugar one generally adds sugar. "It's a matter of crystallization," explained Edwin Ogasawara, the mill superintendent and a friend of Ken's "Before it reaches the separation process our sugar is in liquid form, suspended in a wrap with molasses. To extract it we must force it to crystallize under heat, but at that stage the sugar is very uncooperative. Left to itself it will crystallize in many different sizes, not in the uniform grade we want. So we add a little powdered sugar to the syrup as a standard base around which the new sugar can crystallize evenly." Mr. Ogasawara beamed. "After that, everything cooperates beautifully."
If the Big Island is the Texan of Hawaii, Lahaina is its Nantucket or New Bedford, the Polynesian version of an old Yankee whaling town. In its day Lahaina rivaled even New Bedford in the number of whaling ships that called; the year 1846 brought 429 ships to the West Maui port. All were part of the great Yankee whale fishery that flourished in the 19th century, until the Civil War crippled it and petroleum eventually administered the death blow. Lahaina prospered for many years as a base and a port of call whose virtue - or rather lack of it - was James A. Michener in his novel Hawaii with a verse attributed to whalers:
Unhappily the whalers, another New England export arrived almost at the same time in Lahaina - a stern brand of Congregationalist faith brought by American missionaries from Boston. reaching Hawaii in 1820, the missionaries settled in Honolulu, Kailua, Waimea, and Lahaina and proceeded to convert the islanders. Under attack from Christianity, and with the help of the Hawaiian monarchy, the ancient system of Kapua crumbled. Christian kapua promptly took their place, including several that dealt specifically with the habits of visiting whalers. Outraged, the whalers responded with threats and curses. On one occasion they opened fire with a ship's cannon on the house of a missionary, proving themselves more at home with the harpoon than with powder and shot. The missionaries escaped injury and gradually won the town over.
Lahaina today is engaged in recapturing the picturesque elements of that vanished era, while drawing increasing numbers of tourists to its excellent hotels and restaurants, and its colorful shops. with Keith Tester of the privately supported Lahaina Restoration foundation I spent an afternoon exploring relics of the town's missionary era as well as of its seafaring past and of the monarchy. The foundation is preserving or reconstructing several historic buildings along original lines. One hallmark that needs no restoration is Lahanaluna High School, the famous missionary academy founded in 1831. Popular legend says it drew early pupils from such distant sources as the families of the California forty-niners, who preferred to send their children across 2,400 miles of open Pacific rather than have them risk the wilds of North America to reach eastern schools. Laihaluna still flourishes on its hill overlooking the town - the oldest American school west of the Rockies, with a student body today of 600. (1970)
Despite their admirable work, the missionaries and their descendants have often been accused of profiteering from their connection with the Hawaiian monarchy, especially in the time of Kamehameha II and III. The charge recalls a somewhat similar complaint made by a poet and humorist against the first New Englanders. The pilgrims - fell upon their knees, and then upon the aborigines." "it's true that great fortunes in the islands were built up by the descendants of the early missionaries," Keith said. "But those first missionaries were dedicated people who stuck to their original purpose, one that involved great personal sacrifice. The monarchy rewarded the missions in the only way it knew how, with acreage. In many cases the second and third generations did break away and go into business or government, but only a few started with the original land grants. By and large they were honest, hard-working men, and they did as much in their way for Hawaii as their fathers before them."
Opponents of the missionaries often overlook the brutal character of Hawaiian life in the pre-Christian era. One man who did not, and who summed it up with unforgettable humor and poignance, was that adoptive son of the islands, Mark Twain. In his book Roughing It Twain described pagan Hawaii as:
... a place where human sacrifices were offered up in those old bygone days where the simple child of nature, yielding momentarily to sin when sorely tempted, acknowledged his error when calm reflection had shown it him, and came forward with noble frankness and offered up his grandmother as an atoning sacrifice - in those old days when the luckless sinner could keep on cleaning his conscience and achieving periodical happiness as long as his relations held out; long, long before the missionaries braced a thousand privations to come and make them permanently miserable by telling them how beautiful and how blissful a place heaven is, and how nearly impossible it is to get there, and showed the poor native how dreary a place perdition is and what unnecessarily liberal facilities there are for going to it, showed him how, in his ignorance, he had gone and fooled away all his kinfolks to no purpose.....
Despite his very real admiration for the missionaries, however, Twain could not resist a parting shot at them for having introduced the Hawaiians to the doctrine of sin and its consequences. During a visit to the Big Island he wrote, "How sad it is to think of the multitudes who have gone to their graves in this beautiful island and never knew there was a hell."
For some, the exact opposite of hell is West Maui's Kaanapali coast, often referred to by Hawaiians as the Gold Coast - several miles of glittering beach with an opulent array of condominium apartments, golf courses, and luxury hotels that attract more than half of Maui's annual visitors, estimated to reach 386,000 in 1970. Gold Coast developers proudly point out that when completed the 850-acre complex will contain 3,500 hotel rooms, while Waikiki Beach, with about the same area, has a least five times that number of rooms. As long as Hawaii's tourist trade continues as geometric explosion, Kaanapali is one of the most attractive ways of handling it - a self-contained garden-style community for transients separated from other urban areas. With the spectacle of Honolulu's coastal sprawl in mind, Maui's planners have decreed that major development in the future will be limited to three areas of their island the Lahaina-Kaanapali region; the country seat, Wailuku, with its neighboring city of Kahului, and the Kihei area along the south shore of the island's isthmus.
Of the three, Lahina-Kainapali attracts the broadest spectrum of visitors, from surfers and itinerant bands of hippies to wealthy mainland families bent on days of golfing, sunbathing, and leisurely swimming. Occasionally the swimming leads to unexpected adventures. Some months ago a teen-age girl from the mainland was enjoying an afternoon sunbath aboard an oversize raft just offshore near Kaanapali. The day was tranquil and the sunlight warm. Presently a young man she knew swam out from the beach and joined her. The two talked for a while and then fell asleep to the gentle rocking of the raft. They were awakened when the rocking became more than gentle. While they slept, the raft had drifted far offshore, into the waters of Auau Channel, the nine-mile-wide strait separating Maui from the Island of Lanai. Once out of the lee of Maui the raft had picked up speed under the relentless thrust of the northeast trades and was now rollicking along toward the distant outline of Lanai. There was no hope of paddling back to shore. Then the sun set and the wind rose to gale force.
Old-timers in the islands still marvel that the couple survived, and in fact they spent more time off the raft than on it. In the darkness and seething rush of angry waves they capsized repeatedly, almost losing their grip on the raft. Often the hold of one barely saved the other. At some point during the night - the girl could not recall when - the nightmare force of the water stripped away her bathing suit. Without Lanai the pair would unquestionably have been lost. Driven before the wind on a direct course on the island, they washed ashore before dawn on that graveyard of many a vessel, Lanai's Shipwreck Beach. Half dead, they collapsed on the sand, where the islanders eventually found them. No stretch of coast, the two said later, ever looked more beautiful. But then perhaps they had never seen Molokai.
MOLOKAI, LANAI, KAHOOLAWE
A child of the gods, pineapples by the million, and an island gunnery range
In a state where nicknames are an inevitable part of geography, one might call them the "Forgotten Islands" or the "Neglected Islands." Few tourists are familiar with the charms of Molokai and its people, and fewer still with those of Lanai. As for Kahoolawe, hardly a score of visitors set foot there in a year's time, for it is under constant fire as a target range by the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. Historically, Molokai holds little claim to its present title, the "Friendly Island." In ancient times its priests were among the most dreaded in all Hawaii for their power and their devotion to the sacrificial altar. Later Molokai developed an even more dreadful image as a place of exile for the living dead - those afflicted with ma'i-Pake, the Hawaiian term for "Chinese disease," known to Westerners as leprosy.
All three islands are legally part of the country of Maui, though they contribute less than a quarter of its population, some 6,000 (1970) on Molokai and roughly half that on Lanai. Kahoolawe's only permanent residents are wild goats that roam the island's scarred and tortured hills in random herds, nimbly foraging between air strikes and naval target practice. In size the trio stands near the bottom of Hawaii's scale. Among the state's eight major islands Molokai ranks fifth with 261.1 square miles. Lanai is sixth with 130.5, and Kahoolawe last with 45. Lonely Niihau, off the Island of Kauai, ranks seventh with 73 square miles. Molokai, however, has something better than mere size - she is a true child of the gods, the only daughter of Wakea, father of islands, and the beautiful goddess Hina. Happily for Molokai, she inherited her mother's beauty and a good deal of her father's divine influence. Moloka'i pule o'o, runs an old Hawaiian adage, meaning roughly, "The prayers of Molokai are answered."
Now and then Molokai provides the answers to her own prayers, as I learned before setting foot on the island. Through the courtesy of the Royal Hawaiian Air Service, an inter-island line that combines travel with a touch of sightseeing, I had a low-level tour of Molokai on the flight between Mau's Kaanapali coast and Molokai's small central airport northwest of the town of Kaunakakai. The pilot offered me the seat next to him on the half-hour trip by twin-engine Cessna. Crossing Pailolo Channel, we approached Molokai on its majestic windward side. Here the island bursts abruptly from the sea in a colossal rampart of 2,000-foot-high cliffs notched by half a dozen great valleys and overgrown with jungle, resembling the ruined walls of some sacked and abandoned fortress. Driving in from the northweast, the trade winds tirelessly continue the assault, drenching the coast with torrential showers and streaking the massive headland with the bright veins of innumerable waterfalls. One of these, Kahiwa Falls, plunges 1,750 feet in several spectacular stages to the sea, giving Hawaii its highest cascade.
Back of the cliffs the land slopes gently upward in a series of plateaus to a single great ridge running nearly half the length of the island and gradually tapering off into dry plains at the western end. In its very beauty lies one of Molokai's major problems how to bring water and people together. The island's population, along with its ranching and agricultural industries, is concentrated in the lowland areas of the south and west, rarely touched by rain. On Molokai's uninhabited windward coast spectacular streams and falls drain precious water into the sea at the rate of some 150,000,000 gallons a day, siphoning off Molokai's major hope of development. "Take a good look at those falls while you can," the pilot told me. "Molokai has a new project designed to dry some of them up and divert the water to the other side of the island. In just a minute you'll see what they plan to collect it in."
Skimming westward, we crossed the flat spur of land on Molokai's northern coast with its village of Kalaupapa, the isolated colony for 168 victims of leprosy, now generally referred to as Hansen's disease. Once again I noted along one edge of the peninsula the small airstrip that I had seen weeks before from an 'Air Force jet. "You can reach the village by climbing down a narrow trail from the top of the cliffs, where some of the medical staff live," the pilot said, "but it's much simpler to catch a morning flight to Kalaupapa from Molokai's airport. The people at the colony will be glad to show you around." Beyond Kalaupapa the cliffs subsided and we turned inland above rolling hills cross-stitched with irrigated pineapple fields and giving way now and then to stretches of virtual desert. Over one of the latter we came on a huge depression in the earth, shaped like a square off frying and glistening with the same metallic sheen in the morning sun. "That's the new reservoir for the diversion project," the pilot said. "The lining is a thin sheer of nylon-reinforced buryl rubber laid down to prevent seepage - Molokai's soil is volcanic and it leaks like a sieve. Incidentally, that's the largest rubber-lined reservoir in the whole world. If you're interested in it, look up George Harada in Kaunakakai. He's the irrigation-system manager for Molokai and he can tell you all about it."
George did better than that. The next afternoon he took me into the reservoir to see the last of the lining being put in place and to explain what the diversion system - known as the Molokai Irrigation Water project - means to the future of the island. "In plain figures," George said, "it means nearly a billion and a half gallons of water on tap in a place that has suffered from thirst since time began." He gestured toward the distant ridge running east of us. "Underneath that ridge we've built a huge underground aqueduct capable of delivering 25,000,000 gallons of water a day from the wet side of the island over here to the dry side. It just happens that winter is the season of heaviest rain on the wet side, but summer is the time we need water most - for agriculture, ranching, and for a future tourist industry. Once the reservoir and the aqueduct are linked together, we'll have a huge constant supply instead of a torrent one month and a trickle the next. In the long run it could mean a new life for Molokai, with higher income, new industry, and more people to enjoy one of the loveliest and least-known islands in Hawaii."
We inspected one edge of the lining, a vast sheet of plaint, slightly silvery material that already covered two-thirds of the reservoir. some of the 78 workers on the lining project were laying the rubber down in slightly overlapping sheets, each 600 feet long, more than 13 feet wide, and 1/32 of an inch thick. Other workers followed behind, applying rubber adhesive and strips of gummed material to the seams, weighting the sheet down against the wind with sandbags until the day when tons of water would hold it in place. George introduced me to Vermon Funn, project engineer for the Department of Land and Natural Resources, who reeled off additional figures on the reservoir: capacity, roughly 1,400,000,000 gallons, area of the excavation, 104 acres; total amount of rubber for the lining, 810 tons. Not only is it the world's biggest rubber lined reservoir, but it also is the largest of any kind in Hawaii. It gradually dawned on me that the great majority of the overalled workers were women. I asked Mr. Funn if men were in short supply. Cecilia remarked sadly. "Even in the old days we knew that youngsters ran a far higher risk of infection than adults, and many were taken away to become hanai - foster children - in the homes of relatives or friends on the outside. In 1930 it became the law. A child born at Kalaupapa must leave the same day and must not come back to visit at least till the age of 17. It's a good law - since 1930 nor one such child has developed the disease.
"Of course," she added, "the rule matters less now, since no new patients come to Kalaupapa. The youngest person here is in her late 20's and the last child was born nine years ago. Probably thee won't be another. It's sad, but terrible things happened in the days when we knew less about Hansen's disease. My husband remembers very well." We toured the colony then, visiting an excellent small library, well-equipped clinic, the craft shop, and the post offices. Kalaupapa's mail is handled in two separate buildings - one for the 50 staff members and the other for patients, whose outgoing shipments were once fumigated, a practice that has been discontinued. Many of the colony's non-medical jobs are filled by patients themselves, whose genuine warmth and dignity distract the visitor's attention from mutilated eyelids, ears, and nostrils. Among other patients, however, a high degree of skill emphasizes deformity. In the craft shop I noticed one woman operating a heavy loom at high speed. Most of the fingers were missing from her hands.
Since arrested cases are permitted to leave Kalaupapa, I asked Cecilia why those with only minor disfigurement stayed on. "It's not that easy for us on the outside yet," she answered. "People are still afraid of Hansen's disease, even when there's no danger, and it's difficult to get jobs. The state provided for us here and pays us each a regular allowance." She swept a hand toward the rows of neat houses with their landscaping and flower beds, and at the soft blue of the sea beyond. "Besides, for many it is the only home they can remember."
Finally we stopped at Cecilia's house and I met her husband, a powerfully built man in his 50's with an extraordinarily gentle air and a quick, irresistible smile. Despite two badly deformed hands, each with several fingers missing, he was hurrying off to help a neighbor move a refrigerator and asked if I couldn't stay until evening. Unhappily I couldn't and he urged me to come back another time when the three of us could spend a day together. On the way to the airport Cecilia told me a little about him. Born in the colony to parents who both suffered from Hansen's disease, he had been quickly removed, and allowed to return only a few times for brief visits as a child. In those days meetings were arranged in a large room at Kalaupapa with a large glass panel separating patients from visitors. In the case of Cecilia's husband protective measures failed; he contracted the disease as a young man and entered Kalaupapa voluntarily in 1944. By that time both his parents were dead - in all his life he never touched or kissed them and scarcely knew the sound of their voices.
A far different type of scourge menaces Molokai's undersea regions. One morning I joined a group of divers on the island's south coast in search of a possible threat to Hawaii's vital offshore coral reefs: Acanthaster planci, the voracious crown-of-thorns starfish. With Mike Givens, an expert scuba diver and the manager of the Hotel Molokai, I accompanied a team of marine biologists from the State Division of Fish and Game. They were investigating reports of a huge concentration of the coral-devouring multipedes, said to have appeared in Kalohi Channel between Molokai and the Island of Lanai.
We never found the colony - crown-of-thorns starfish can move several hundred feet a day, wiping out great stretches of reef as they go by digesting millions of tiny coral-building polyps. As yet Hawaii has suffered none of the devastation visited on such regions as Guam and Australia's Great Barrier Reef, but the 50th State stands to lose much of its undersea splendor as well as tourist revenue if the starfish reaches epidemic proportions there. I had seen scattered specimens of Acanthaster during the dive with Jim Robinson to the lava formations off the Big Island, but not in concentrations large enough to do serious harm. After we had given up the search for Acanthaster, Mike showed me several of his favorite reefs at 60 and 70 feet in Kalohi Channel's crystal depths. The area is famous among sport fishermen and divers for its schools of small aku, the graceful skipjack, with lumbering ulua, or pompano, with albacore and snapper. From time to time a torrent of mullet streamed by in massive flight from some larger enemy. As always, there were the bright pennants of small reef fish fluttering from the crests and pinnacles of dark coral, as though in cheerful welcome to passers-by. I couldn't help thinking that even under the sea, Molokai lives up to the nickname "Friendly Island."
In all Hawaii no island lives up more spectacularly to its second name than does Lanai. With the tireless rhythm of a production line the "Pineapple Island," as Hawaiians call it, plants, irrigates, harvests, and ships some 122,000,000 units of whole fruit a year to one of the great canneries at Honolulu. In turn Honolulu supplies more than half the world's pineapple, plus such side-products as cattle feed, and an enzyme, bromelain, used in pharmaceuticals and in food processing. To maintain its share of the flow - roughly one-fifth of Hawaii's total - Lanai keeps a quarter of a billion pineapple plants under cultivation and men like Warner Hobdy in a state of perpetual motion. At the time of my visit Warner was superintendent of harvesting on Lanai for the Dole Company, a division of Castle & Cooke that owns the island and employs virtually all of its 2,000 workers. He took a morning off from a busy schedule of conferences and reports to meet my flight from Molokai and give me an automobile tour of the world's largest pineapple plantation.
A complete view would take weeks, for Dole has nearly 24 square miles of pineapple fields on Lanai in various stages of growth covering a 22-month period. Autumn harvest has ended and Warner began our tour among the recently picked fields. Here teams of workers were gathering up "crowns" - clusters of spiny leaves attacked to the tip ends of fruit - that had been broken off and left behind during harvest. The crowns are planted in freshly prepared fields to start a new crop, experienced field hands can set out as many as 1,000 an hour. Recalling the highly mechanized sugarcane harvest on Maui, I asked Warner if similar techniques could be applied to pineapple. "We wish they could," he answered. "In the long run it would save us a great deal of money. but harvesting pineapple is still a job for the human eye and hand. The fruit doesn't ripen uniformly, so we have to pick each field several times to get everything at just the right moment. "We're working hard to develop a strain without any variations," he added, and then smiled. "or as a woman visitor to Lanai put it recently: 'Dole is dedicated to the proposition that all pineapples can be created equal.' She's right, but I'm afraid it's still only a proposition."
Where water is in short supply, pineapple has a major advantage over sugarcane. It required far less irrigation. To tap Lanai's limited reserves of water, engineers have drilled wells as deep as 1,270 feet on the island's heights and laid pipelines down to the leeward side. here the Dole Company distributes water over the moss-green embroidery of fields with the world's most colossal self-propelled sprinkler. Topping a gentle rise, Warner braked the car to a stop and pointed to a machine at work in the fields below. Even from a distance the sight was spectacular. The impression was one of some monstrous locust poised on a strip of grass, its transparent wings outstretched and fluttering as though for take-off. Warner drove down the slope and alongside the machine so I could get a close look at the wings. They turned out to be long sections of waterpipe, extending on either side of a heavy truck and fitted at intervals, with powerful sprinklers trained toward the ground. The shimmer of spray in sunlight had produced the fluttering effect. "it6's designed to run between two pineapple fields," Warner explained, "irrigating on each side. No tank truck could hold enough water for the job, so drivers trail a long extension hose mounted on a reel in the machine and hook up to a succession of irrigation hydrants spaced around the fields. From tip to tip the waterpipes stretch 178 feet, which means you could run that machien across a football field at the 50-yard line and almost water the end zones!"
We finished the tour in Warner's office over a cup of coffee. I was hoping to sample a slice or two of Dole's famous product, but time passed and none appeared. At length I put aside manners and asked about it. He was very apologetic. "I wish you'd come two weeks ago," he said. "I would have sent you off with a couple of bushels of the finest fruit you ever tasted in your life. But the harvest is over and everything's gone to Honolulu. To tell you the truth, there isn't a ripe pineapple anywhere on the island." The last of the "forgotten" trio is Kahoolawe, the target range southeast of Lanai. I flew to it one day by helicopter with a detachment of Navy and Marine personnel from the air station in Kaneohe Bay on Oahu's east coast. I had been invited to watch a day's gunnery practice by two Canadian destroyers firing from four miles offshore at a make-believe convoy of abandoned trucks that constitutes one of the island's main targets.
Many others had preceded the Canadians, paving Kahoolawe's thinly forested slopes with the hardware of battle - tons of shell fragments, casings of air-to-ground missiles, burned-out parachute flares, 10-mm cannon cartridges, and the remains of a dozen other types of weapons. All were churned in with Kahoolawe's volcanic debris of scorched and tempered rocks, making it hard to distinguish between the violent handiwork of nature and man. In some cases the latter has proved ineffective, and Kahoolawe is littered with duds. bill Harvey, a young navy lieutenant in charge of our fire-control party, warned me not to stray from the clearly marked paths around the observation post. The Canadians proved a bit rusty at first, firing as much as half a mile on either side of the target. Bill radioed corrections over a field transmitter, and gradually the bursts moved directly in among the trucks of the convoy. for a final exercise Bill radioed the destroyers to fire at a target involving what he called "danger element." I asked what that meant, and he answered, "It represents a target located next to friendly troops." And where did one find friendly troops on a deserted island? "Right here," Bill said, indicating our observation post. "The destroyers are going to fie at that marker on the next hill. Let's hope they've got their eye now."
So we hoped, and they had, for the marker disappeared in a cloud of smoke, and I feel a very special fondness for Canadians. I saw Molokai-Oahu Outrigger Canoe Race. The contest draws outrigger canoe teams from most of the major islands in a gruelling 42-mile race across open sea between Molokai's western tip and the finish line near Honolulu's Waikiki Beach. My hopes rode with the team from Kauai on the morning we all gathered - some by air and others by chartered or private boat - for the start near Molokai's Laau Point. I had met the Kauai team coach the night before, a soft-spoken and immensely likable man in his 40's named Stanford Achi. Stan felt that Kauai had a good chance against the heavily favoured teams of Oahu, such as Waikiki Surf, Outrigger Canoe Club, and Healani. As it turned out the favorites swept the field, but Kauai came in fourth, putting up a great battle, in the spirit of a moving invocation by the Reverend Abraham Akaka of Oahu just before the start:
"We than Thee for the forces of our history that focus on this moment, for our forefathers in these islands whose legacy of love for the sea and skill in canoe-making and seamanship we have inherited ...
"God go with you, every one."
KAUAI, NIIHAU, THE LEEWARD CHAIN
Lonely splendor of the westward frontier
It is an unlikely a name as you will find for a warm and endlessly hospitable town - Lihue, meaning "cold chill." Nor does it apply any more readily to the surrounding island, for Kauai is one vast and sunlit garden whose ancient name many translate as "fruitful season." One look is enough to explain why.
Kauai is the acknowledged grande dame among the major islands - a lady of great beauty in the fullness of her years. with more logic than chivalry, geologists estimate her span to be as great as 5,600,000 years - almost half again as old as her nearest rival, Oahu, and at least ten times that of the Big Island. Everyone agrees that Kauai carries her age remarkably well. Her vital statistics are undistinguished: fourth-largest of the islands, containing 553.3 square miles with an ample waistline of 110 miles at low tide; smallest population among Hawaii's four counties, with 31,000 inhabitants, plus another 250 on the neighboring Island of Niihau, and eighth-highest peak in the state, dormant Kawaikini, standing 5,243 feet above the sea.
One might as well give the exact dimensions of the Garden of Eden. Inevitably, Hawaiians call it the "Garden Island," without specifying which garden they mean. Kauai is actually many in one, including seaside park, tropical arboretum, high-altitude marsh, and haunting desert landscape, all interspersed with an endless profusion of flowers. Nor are Kauai's exotic specimens confined to plant life. The island is a vast sanctuary for Hawaii's dwindling native birds, harboring 10 of the state's 27 endangered species. The reason, apart from Kauai's wilderness areas, is the islanders refusal to import the Indian mongoose as other Hawaiians did during the 19th century to control rats. The mongoose preferred more colorful fare, helping obliterate two dozen species of birds in a century and a half. As it happened, the remaining species provided visitors with an unforgettable introduction to Kauai.
( See Jane Resture's Kauai Web site: http://www.janeresture.com/hawaii_kauai/index.htm )
Arriving by inter-island jet in Lihue, Kauai's country seat, checked into the Kauai Surf Resort and called on Jack Harter at his office there. Ordinarily Jack conducts a fascinating one-hour helicopter tour of the island, with a brief stopover along the Na Pali Coast or in Waimea Canyon, the spectacular gorge chiseled by erosion out of Kauai's desertlike leeward slope. That day, however, Jack had other plans. "I'm running a bird count with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service this afternoon," he said, "and you're both welcome to join us. It's a longer flight than usual and I think you'll like it. We'll be taking a look at Niihau, our off-limits island to the west, so you'll see something a little special. Then we'll swing around the western end of Kauai on the way home." The afternoon at the heliport Jack introduced us to our fellow passenger, John Sincock, a Fish and Wildlife Service research biologist for Hawaii. We climbed into the Fairchild-Hiller and Jack lifted us smoothly off in a great sweeping arc over the roofs of Lihue. Jack believes in sightseeing at point-blank range and he has the skill and judgment to manage it safely. flying a hundred feet or so above the trees, he threaded a notch in Kauai's southeastern rampart of mountains and swung along the island's leeward coast. The land swept slowly beneath us as though under a powerful leans, and we had time to single out a number of details.
Against the coarse green weave of sugarcane fields an occasional village slipped by, its bright pattern of gardens and flowering trees looking like a centerpiece arranged on an immense tablecloth. At Poipu Beach along the island's southern rim we passed a slender colonnade of new resort hotels, built to absorb a large percentage of Kauai's 300,000 annual tourists (1970). Half a dozen surfers were riding the modest offshore swells. As we whirled overhead, one of them waved a cheerful greeting and instantly paid for his gallantry with a spectacular wipe-out. Over the small coastal town of Waimea, Jack banked inland, skirting the shallow bay where Captain Cook first set foot in the islands. Then we were between the great jaws of Waimea Canyon, lifting sharply with the land toward the western shoulder of Waialeale volcano and its giant catch basin, the remote Alakai Swamp. It is here that the trade winds, as though in a parting gesture to Hawaii, loose a cascade of water averaging more than 40 feet a year, baptizing Waialeale as the rainiest spot on earth and scouting Waimea Canyon ever deeper with the runoff. Unlucky Niihau, directly in the lee of Kauai, gets a mere sprinkling of leftovers and is forced to barge additional water from its neighbor island across 10 miles of intervening channel.
"John and I are going to check the rain gauge on Waialeale and take a quick look around for birds," Jack said to Louise and me over the intercom. "Why don't you two have a balcony seat in the canyon and we'll pick you up in 15 minutes." It was a balcony beyond the dreams of a steeplejack, the weathered crown of a solitary butte thrusting nearly half a mile above the center of the canyon floor and tapering at the peak to a level area no bigger than a tennis court. Luckily for Louise, she scarcely had time to see it, for Jack approached the butte from below, easing gently over the crest and touching down quickly with hardly a bump. Louise and I climbed out and stood on a broad ledge below the parapet to which the take-off, a process as thoroughly impressive as the landing. Slowly increasing power, Jack tilted the helicopter forward and almost seemed to roll off the pinnacle with a single motion into the vastness of the canyon. 'We watched him for a moment skimming like a mayfly toward the heights of Waialeale, and then silence settled over the immense gorge.
Once we had adjusted to our surroundings - or rather, the lack of them - we began to enjoy the magnificent view. roughly a mile away on either side of us the main walls of the canyon plunged vertically into deep recesses forever beyond reach of the sun. Against the great pool of shadow below, tiny flecks of what appeared to be dust or pollen caught the sun's rays drifting slowly along on a faint breeze. When they turned and began to float upwind, I suddenly realized they were birds soaring hundreds of feet down in the chasm. From a distance the canyon walls stood out sharply in colorful layers - ocher, rust, and varying shades of brown - recording an eternity of volcanic eruptions. Several of the layers contained boulders whose weathered shapes suggested the scowling faces of ancient gods surveying a vast and lonely realm. The sight brought home the fact that we were marooned high above the canyon floor, and Louise had a sobering thought.
"Suppose Jack has engine trouble on Waialeale?"
I reassured her that jack had a second helicopter and that its pilot knew our flight plan but I was relieved nonetheless when we caught the distant whine of an engine and saw Jack approaching from far below us. He had brought Louise a present from Waialeale, a tiny plant that gave evidence of the vast distances life has travelled over millions of years in reaching Hawaii. "We call it sundew," Jack said, placing the fragile specimen with its bell-shaped flowers in Louise's palm. "It's a carnivore - a flycatcher of the genus Drosera that grows in a good many areas of the Northern Hemisphere, including Alaska." Louise, a longtime gardener, was fascinated. "How did it get here?" she asked. Jack shook his head, smiling. "Nobody knows, but man didn't bring it; the sundew reached Hawaii long before he did. Most likely some migratory bird brought the seed in its feathers or intestines thousands, perhaps millions, of years ago. One guess would be the golden plover, since it migrates from the Arctic to the Antarctic every year by way of Hawaii." He nodded at John Sincock. "There's the expert, and even he can't say." We forsook Kauai after that, heading out across Kaulakahi Channel toward Niihau, the "Forbidden Island." Along the way John Sincock gave us a thumbnail sketch.
"Niihau belongs to the Robinson family of Kauai," John began. "One of their ancestors, Mrs Eliza Sinclair, bought it from Kamehameha V in 1864 for $10,000. The Sinclairs were sheep ranchers who came here from New Zealand, and there's a delightful story about the purchase. "Kamehameha apparently liked the Sinclairs, and he originally offered them a strip of land on Oahu running from what is now downtown Honolulu all the way to Diamond Head, for $50,000. Of course the area included Waikiki, and nowadays you couldn't buy 10 feet of shoreline for that. Even then it was an unbelievable offer. "But the Sinclairs were ranchers to the bone," John continued. "One of the sons rode out to look the land over and told his mother: "If you buy that spread you might just as well put your $50,000 in a gunny sack and throw it in the ocean - the land won't graze five head of sheep!'"
Instead, the family bought Niihau's 73 square miles, turning it into a cattle and sheep ranch and eventually into a private refuge for pure Hawaiians, who work the ranch and who account for most of the island's 250 inhabitants. The language of Niihau is a relatively pure strain of Hawaiian, closer in some respects to an older tongue, Tahitian, than to the version that has evolved elsewhere in the 50th State. For years outsiders have been refused permission to visit the small outpost, even for such worthwhile projects as John Sincock's survey of endangered wildlife. Hence the offer by Jack, a devoted conservationist, to fly John on inspection trips now and then. "People who know the Niihau islanders say they're wonderfully kind and gentle," Jack added, "but they certainly cling to their privacy. In 1959 when Hawaii held a plebescite on statehood, the vote was a 17-10-1 landslide in favor of it. Out of 240 districts in the territory only Niihau voted 'No.' "Things are changing now, and a new generation of Robinsons is coming along. Niihau has some serious economic problems besides those caused by drought, but all of us are hoping the islanders will make a go of it. "But here it is - welcome to the Forbidden Island."
( See Jane Resture's Niihau Island Web site: http://www.janeresture.com/hawaii_niihau/index.htm )
Clearing a high rampart of barren cliffs by less than 100 feet, we skimmed across a drab landscape of yellowing range grass and tortured kiawe trees, interrupted here and there by the open wounds of erosion - raw patches of red volcanic earth. Now and then we spied a small group of sheep or cattle clustered around a shallow drinking pond. Over one pond John made a welcome discovery in the form of some 250 graceful Hawaiian stilts, long-legged birds that exploded beneath us in a swirling black-and-white tornado. He jotted an entry in his notebook and then turned to9 Louise and me. "There are probably no more than 1,500 of those birds left in the world," he said. "Like the pure Hawaiians they've dwindled to a relative few, and for many of the same reasons - kiss of natural habitat and accustomed food supply, introduction of foreign diseases and competitors, and, finally, massive human indifference. Niihau has wild as well as human refugees, but time is running out on all of them." At the island's southern tip Jack turned and followed the leeward coast north to Niihau's only real community, roughly a score of frame houses known as Puuwai literally "heart" in Hawaiian.
Despite their voluntary isolation the islanders lived up to Jack's impression of friendliness. As we circled low over the houses, doors swung open and adults as well as children hurried out to wave. Few villages in the world are apt to ignore a low-flying helicopter, yet there was something unmistakably warm and kindly in Puuwai''s reaction. We got a similar greeting from two paniolos headed north on horseback several miles from the village - this time with an eloquent flourish of ten-gallon hats. In the end we broke Niihau's rigid kapu by landing, but only for a matter of minutes on behalf of some unknown islander. As we reached the north-eastern coast Jack saw a cow entangled by the horns in a kiawe thicket, obviously in the last stages of exhaustion from a hopeless struggle. Picking a level area just back of the water's edge, he made another smooth landing and set off to investigate, declining our offers of help. Louise and John and I did a little beachcombing along the rocky shore. I have never known a scavenger with Louise's instincts and outrageous luck; by the time Jack returned from a successful rescue mission she had retrieved two handsome green glass floats, the kind used by Japanese fishermen to buoy their nets. The sturdy globes work loose wherever the fishing fleets operate, sometimes off Japan itself, and drift thousands of miles across the Pacific to end up on Hawaii's shores as treasured finds. Jack stowed the prizes away and we took off for Kauai's Na Pali Coast, reaching the southern end of the great headland after a 10-minute flight.
Late-afternoon sun enfolded the massive cliffs, turning a score of waterfalls into rivulets of molten silver forever replenishing the bright crucible of the sea. Elsewhere the palisade had given way to the eternal rush of water, opening out in steep valleys overgrown with jungle, like patches of moss gleaming from the cracks of some giant retaining wall. It was a scene borrowed from a mele, the ancient form of Hawaiian poetic chant that once took the place of written history, describing memorable events or the wonders of nature. More than likely just such a view had inspired some long-ago poet to compose one of countless verses in honor of Kauai, among the most beloved of Hawaii's islands:
Others, perhaps, had seen the Na Pali coast as a symbol of hope and the end of a terrible ordeal. Many historians believe that the Polynesian discoverers of Hawaii came ashore the first time at one of the great valleys along the coast, doubtless filled with gratitude for delivery after a grueling 2,400-mile voyage across unknown seas from the Marquesas. For a finale Jack climbed the northern edge of the rampart, soaring across the velvet green folds of Kauai's windward slope. Skirting to the cast of Kawaikini volcano, we passed through the garland of mist forever draped about the heights by moisture-laden trades. Then we were out once more in sunlight, descending between banks of dazzling comulus toward the heliport at Lihue. I thought for a moment of Casey Coryell and a day many weeks before on Oahu, for we seemed to be fluming down the clouds. Despite Kauai's nickname and lonely grandeur, as charm stems first of all from people, a fact that Louise and I were to discover during the days that followed. Not that anyone made a special effort, as Maile says, they're just born that way.
Maile Semitekol is district manager of the Hawaii Visitors Bureau in Lihue, the charming woman whose full first name, as she had told me earlier, means, "the small, fragrant maile vine closely entwined with the climbing ieie plant of the upland forest." Maile, however, is even more closely entwined with he life of kauai and its inhabitants. She introduced us to a good many of them. Nowhere in Hawaii are there people more varied yet more alike in the common gift of hospitality. There was a morning at Kiker, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's tracking station above Waimea Canyon, with its director, Virgil True. Mr True and his staff had recently put in an exhausting week monitoring the Apollo 11 flight and man's historic first landing on the moon, yet he generously laid aside official reports for an hour or so to conduct a tour of the station. I confess I understood a mere fraction of all we saw, but I recall that Mr. True wasn't entirely satisfied with Kokee's radar. It was only accurate down to an area five yards wide at a range of 32,000 miles, and he was looking forward to new equipment that would reduce the possible error to a more comfortable one of a single yard at 240,000 miles, the distance to the moon.
There was another dedicated scientist and friend of Maile's, Margaret Kupihea, in the town of Kapaa on Kauai's east coast. She received me cordially one afternoon in her living room, although she had been up at four o'clock in the morning. At that hour she had been diving offshore with a pair of goggles and a small knife to gather edible limpers called 'epihi, something not every 67-year-old great-grandmother would do.
Mrs. Kupihea is a highly respected healer whose ancient craft, practiced with various minerals and herbs, has produced many authentic cures. For the most part she preferred to talk about legends of Kauai - about the Menehune, or little people, who perform incredible tasks overnight for deserving humans, and the po kane, or night marchers, dread souls of the departed who carry off unsuspecting mortals to eternal damnation. When I left, however, Mrs. Kupihea assumed the healer's role. She gave me a small block of red volcanic stone called 'alaea, with instructions on how to grind it up and swallow it in a glass of lightly salted water as a cure for stomach ailments, such as those caused by overeating. On Kauai there could hardly be a more thoughtful gift. Keala Kinimaka's gift is less easily transmitted, though she tried to teach me a basic element or two. She is 17 years old, a student of classical hula, and an extraordinarily beautiful girl. I met her one evening at the Tahiti Longhouse, an attractive restaurant nightclub on Poipu Beach, where she was performing for an audience of tourists with her three sisters and a gifted young teacher of hula named Henry Taese.
I had been in Hawaii long enough to distinguish between the stately classical hula and the more flamboyant popular variations offered that evening. Afterward I asked Henry and Keala why they didn't include at least a sample of the traditional form, if only for comparison. Henry answered plainly that it was a matter of dignity and good taste. "Classical hula," he explained, "was born of the ancient Polynesian religion, and those who practice the art still consider it essentially sacred, an expression of the soul through means of the body. You would no more perform such a thing in a nightclub or restaurant that you would, let us say, celebrate a mass or present a Christmas pageant there." It suddenly occurred to me that the only performances of traditional hula I had witnessed were at a gathering of artists in Honolulu and in later program given by the children of Hana for a private audience of parents and friends.
"Commercial dancing is different," Keala added. "Many of the gestures we use in it are the same as those in classical hula, but they tell a different kind of story. Henry composed the routines you saw tonight, but pure hula follows the ancient meles, or chants. In school Henry teaches both types of hula, but one is art and the other is entertainment." I asked Keala to demonstrate a few gestures used in hula. For the first she swept her hands in a graceful circle around her shoulders and head, an unmistakable representation of the moon. The second was almost as simple, consisting of hands clasped to the breast and then extended outward to symbolize the gift of one's heart. The third gesture was more complicated, beginning with both hands joined over the left hip, then flowing upward diagonally across the body and ending in a lovely unfurling motion above the right shoulder. After a moment I gave up, and Keala smiled. "It is simple," she explained. "One climbs the mountain and finds a beautiful flower at the top." She made the gesture again. "Do you see it?"
I saw two flowers - Keala herself, and her creation.
Finally there was Maile's own family, which includes nearly half the coastal village of Hanalei. Or so it seemed the night Louise and I met them at the Semirekils' house for a farewell luau. Maile's husband Bob introduced us to them all. Uncle Barlow Chu, Aunt Jennie and Uncle Jack Saffrey, Cousin Richard Hooikaika, Uncle Ezra Pa, Cousins Dooley and David Kaaumoana, and a score of others. None of them, it turned out, is related by blood to Maile. Instead, they are her 'umeke 'ehana, or "calabash family," the wonderful Hawaiian term for close friends who have shared many joys in life, including meals around the common bowl - or calabash in earlier days. At a full-scale luau the joys are monumental. It took two huge tables on the lanai, or veranda, to hold the feast Maile had spread, with hardly a square inch left over. Aunt Jeniie Suffrey, a marvellously ample woman and one of the contributors, took me on a short guided tour to identify some of the delicacies, boiled muhe'e, or cuttlefish; salted salmon sprinkled with onions and kneaded in the style known as lomilomi; chicken steamed with vegetables, diced and pickled aku, or skipjack; beef simmered in fresh tomatoes; marinated 'o'io, the delicate bonefish; chilled crab; freshwater shrimp; and 'opihi, the highly prized raw limpers. In addition thee was an assortment of mangoes, avocados, slices of fresh coconut, candid ginger, macadamia and kukui nuts, two of Aunt Jennie's miraculous coconut cakes, several consistencies of poi, and of course my old friend, pua'a, the traditional pig.
Uncle Jack and Aunt Jennie had attended to the pua'a at home, dividing the carcass into individual servings and wrapping them in luau - tender young leaves of the taro plant that have come to symbolize the feast itself. Adding an outer layer of tileaves, they had steamed the packets for hours in an imu, or underground oven heated with glowing rocks. It had all the dimensions of a roman orgy, and I questioned whether we would ever make a dent in it. And so we did, with Cousin David Kaaumoana on the guitar, Cousin Dooley on the washtub bass, and several ukuleles that changed hands as nimbly as the translation of their name - "leaping flea" - suggests. The music was even more varied and spectacular than the food, though always in the soft melodic style of Hawaii that combines joy with a strain of eternal sadness. Maole's beautifully clear soprano led a dozen voices in the melody, gliding rather than shifting between notes in the way of island singing. Aunt Jennie proved an even more gifted contralto than cook, leading others in rich and intricate harmony. They sang of Hanalei, of the crescent harbour that gives the village its name, and of Kauai, "where the sun rises and sets again, where the surf curves and bends." There were songs of the other islands, where "the lapping of the sea is gentle, the fragrance of seaweed is in the air," and one memorable ballad called Kaula 'Ili, "The Lasso," describing a cowboy on a hill who is told by the birds what a lovely day it is to ride up into the high mountains.
As Aunt Jennie predicted, the feast gradually melted away, for instruments continued to pass from hand to hand and the performers took time out, drifting to the tables along with the singers. Uncle Barlow and I sampled the pua'a together and found it delicious. We moved on to the poi, the mixture of ground taro root with water that is a staple in the islands, especially the rural areas. Uncle Barlow is an authority on poi and he told me about some of the other uses to which Hawaiians put it besides food - a gentle cleansing agent, a cure for colic in small children, an antidote for scorpion and her sting, and a soothing poultice for eye and skin irritations. I remarked that mainlanders often dismiss poi as barely edible library paste, and Uncle Barlow surprised me by nodding. "They are wrong about flavour, but right about the past," he said. "When I was a boy I put all my school scrapbooks together with poi, and they haven't come apart yet. it was wonderful for building kites, too, though you could be in big trouble if it rained."
Long after midnight Louise and I said goodbye, and Malie kissed us each in farewell aloha. "Now you have an 'umeke 'ohana on Kauai," she said, "and that means you will come back one day." I suspect we will, for as we took off early the next morning for Honolulu, Louise glanced back a final time at the island's green silhouette and said happily, "That's what I call a calabash home."
There was one last corner of the 50th State to visit - the Northwestern Hawaiian islands, or Leewards, older still than Kauai but clothed in some of her gentle magic. Bleak and forbidding, the score or so of weathered pinnacles, atolls, and islets stretch some 1,200 miles northwest of Kauai, separated one from another by vast reaches of empty Pacific. Together they add little more than three square miles to Hawaii's land area. Even the sturdy Polynesians of the past found the Northwestern islands too grim for permanent settlement. One or two of the larger shelter the forlorn ruins of villages fashioned of volcanic stone and then abandoned under the relentless pressure of hunger of drought. Most of the island names are distinctly un-Hawaiian - Gardner Pinnacles, French Frigate Shoals, and the islands known as Necker, Laysan, and Lisianski.
(See Jane Resture's Islands of the Hawaiian Chain Web site: http://www.janeresture.com/hawaiichain_home/index.htm for some of the above-mentioned islands of the Hawaiian Chain).
Where man has met with meager success other creatures flourish. The Northwestern islands constitute on of the world's foremost nesting grounds for seabirds, an area protected since 1909 by federal law in the Hawaiian Islands National Wildlife Refuge. Of the Northwestern chain only remote Kure Island, just outside the refuge, is normally accessible, thanks to a U.S. coast Guard navigational aid station on the tiny atoll. The U.S. Navy supports the 24-man unit from its own base on the Midway Islands, a pair of larger atolls 52 miles to the east and belonging neither to the wildlife refuge nor to the State of Hawaii but to the Navy itself. The Navy agreed to fly me from Honolulu to Midway aboard one of its biweekly commercial contract flights and from there to Kure by supply flight in an amphibian. Despite the presence of Navy families on Midway, women visitors are politely discouraged, so Louise and I parted in Honolulu, she for the mainland and I for a visit to the last outpost of the Hawaiian chain.
The three-hour flight from Honolulu spanned roughly 1,300 miles of ocean and seven million years in the life of Hawaii. Heading northwest from Oahu, we passed progressively older islands in the chain, ending with the veterans, Midway and Kure See Jane Resture's Kure Island Web site: http://www.janeresture.com/kure/index.htm. The latter is believed to have emerged from the sea some 10.5 million years ago. In the ageless battle with the elements both Midway and Kure have suffered monumental defeat, representing the more remnants of once mighty peaks now flattened to within a few yards of the ocean's restless surface and braced for the final assault behind outthrust shields of encircling coral. Looking down on Midway, I could visualize the entire Northwestern chain as a vast graveyard of islands returning over incalculable time to the sea that gave them birth. I found Midway's 2,150 military and civilian residents braced for their own familiar kind of assault, the annual return of more than half a million albatrosses - the famous gooney birds of Midway - from a long sojourn at sea to the tumultuous business of nesting. Typical of Midway's forbearance under the massive invasion of its two square miles is the island's regulation that gooney birds have squatter's rights on the golf course. Thus, if a player encounters a bird taking its ease on the green between himself and the cup he must move the ball, not the gooney.
A far more serious hazard, one that the Navy still faces despite considerable research and expense, is the occasional collision between gooney birds and planes over Midway's airstrips. Happily for Lt. (jg.) Charles Leo and me, the runway was clear the afternoon we took off for Kure in a Grumman HU-16 amphibian, an aircraft appropriately designated "Albatross." Within 20 minutes we were letting down toward Kure, a narrow crescent of white sand set in the tranquil blue of the Pacific like a quarter moon against a late-afternoon sky. virtually all of the island's 24 Coast Guardsmen met us at the apron to unload mail and supplies. We had barely an hour's ground time before the return flight to Midway. Jef Kaiser, Kure's 23-year-old medical corpsman, took me on a short jeep tour of the island's one-third square mile. We began at the main buildings beneath a 625-foot-high antenna for LORAN - Long Range Aid to Navigation - by which Kure guides ships and aircraft between Hawaii and the western Pacific. From there Jef beaded for the island's north-eastern tip across scrub-carpeted land alive with roosting birds - shearwaters, sanderlings, petrels, terns, frigate birds, and a few early arrivals among the albatrosses. For all their color and animations they seemed a poor substitute for human company. I asked Jef how the average Coast Guardsman got along on Kure.
"It helps if you like wildlife and things like reef diving," he answered, "but we've got a good gro9up and everybody finds something to keep him interested, so a year's duty manages to pass. "I'm from Florida," he added, "and I could spend half my time here in the water, just watching things like that." He waved at a shapeless brown blob ahead of us at the water's edge that suddenly shuffled to life as we approached and hunched its way into the sea. "That's a monk seal," Jef said. "There are only about a thousand of them left in the islands now. They've got all the grave of a 500-pound sack of meal on land, but they're plain poetry underwater."
We followed the island's southern strip of beach toward the west. At one spot Jef pointed to a patch of sand stained dark brown. "Now and then something happens here that everybody gets involved in," he said. "The other day a young bottle-nosed whale washed ashore, injured and dying, and more than 30 sharks followed it in. I have some shark hooks from Florida and we got some quarter-inch nylon line and chunks of raw meat and caught over two dozen of them, including a 145-foot tiger shark." Our hour was soon up, and Jef delivered me to the airstrip. I thanked him and climbed into the Grumman with Lieutenant Leo and a young Coast Guardsman bound for Midway and a day or two off duty. Not everyone on Kure, it seems, objects to the solitude of Hawaii's remote western outpost. During the flight back to Midway the young Coast Guardsman explained that a year's tour of duty on Kure usually entitles a man to his preference for a next post. He had only a month left to go on the island, and I asked what he had put in for after that.
"I'd like a change of scene," he said, "and a little colder climate, so I asked for Attu, Alaska." he beamed. "I understand it's been approved." My time in Hawaii was running out and I caught the next plane to Honolulu, planning on a flight to the mainland the next day. As we left the Northwestern chain behind and began our descent for Oahu, I caught a distant glimpse of Kauai and the Na Pali Coast to the south. There, perhaps, it had all begun, more than 1,200 years ago, with the landing by a handful of courageous seafarers who had challenged the unknown and triumphed over it. They had changed the course of history throughout the Pacific and in lands far beyond. Those who came after them are doing the same - adding their energy, their vision, and their great concern for mankind to a constantly changing and, one may hope, improving world.
It is as though Hawaiians in their gentle fashion are forever driven by a command implicit in the lines from an ancient Polynesian mele:
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